X-Men: The Last Stand is the third move in the X-Men franchise, and is the sequel to X2: X-Men United. Directed by Brett Ratner, this comic book adaptation continues the story of mutant humans with incredible powers. Following the events of the previous film, the mutant community has gained some footing with mankind. Unfortunately, despite their often helpful powers, mutants are still viewed as a problem instead of a gift. Just as mutants are becoming more widely accepted, a pharmaceutical company develops a cure for all mutations. This discovery sends shockwaves through the public, once again threatening the mutants and their way of life.
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The Film Review
The Last Stand sees all of our favorite mutants back in action, including Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), and more. As always, there are a slew of awesome action scenes, cleverly using each mutant’s abilities in fun ways.
In fact, the action is at an all-time best in X-Men: The Last Stand, thanks to improved visual effects and a larger emphasis on comic book absurdity. Like the previous movie, X-Men: The Last Stand also expands the roster of notable mutants, furthering the world-building to varying degrees of success. A few of the newer mutants have exceptionally cheesy costume designs, making them a bit too silly in comparison to others.
This clash of tone is an overall problem with X-Men: The Last Stand. Like the previous movie, the script lacks focus. Between the cure for mutations, an extremely powerful new mutant, a militia uprising, and all the other various subplots, the story can get a bit muddied. Luckily, some really cool visual set-pieces keep things from getting boring or bloated. The movie occasionally takes itself too seriously, resulting in unintentional comedy. That said, there are still some genuinely effective scenes that will pull on your heart strings.
X-Men: The Last Stand is also surprisingly bleak, with a heavy plot that throws around some pretty big ethical questions. With the invention of a cure for mutants, does this target those who choose to stay powerful? Where do we draw the lines concerning those powers, when some mutants have abilities that could effectively alter the entire world? These complex questions are interesting when posed, but the philosophical conflict is not explored to its full potential. I was happy to see the inclusion of these larger ideas as they pertain to society, but also slightly disappointed to see them overshadowed by more cliché plot points.
Overall, X-Men: The Last Stand is a bombastic conclusion to the X-Men trilogy, which buckles under its own ambition from time to time. The concept is still strong, and the execution of action scenes with cool mutant powers remains entertaining. Although some of the subplots are ultimately forgettable and bloat the main plot, the narrative is one that provides decent closure. X-Men: The Last Stand is a flawed finale, but it still manages to entertain with exciting action and some surprising heart as well. For fans of the franchise, it offers a bittersweet yet satisfying conclusion for our favorite group of mutants.
- Effective performances make for emotional scenes
- Impressive visual effects
- Satisfying conclusion that ties up most loose ends
- Takes itself too seriously
- Costume designs can be a bit ridiculous
- Script lacks focus and contains too many distractions